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Paradoxical Performances of Subjectivities, Spaces and Art Gallery Postcards

This thesis examines the relationship between art gallery postcards, subjectivities and domestic spaces. Feminist post-structuralist debates on memory, subjectivity and domestic spaces provide the theoretical framework for this research into taken-for-granted objects of the everyday. Empirical data came from interviewing nine women who buy, use and keep postcards and two New Zealand Art Gallery store managers. Some of the participants were interviewed more than once, while others extended their views by e-mail. Auto-ethnographic narrative is used to explore further the symbolic significance of an individual's postcard consumption. This research focuses attention on the production of gendered subjectivities and domestic spaces through an aesthetic artefact. There are three points to my analysis. Firstly, I argue paradoxically the under-noticed seemingly trivial gallery postcard becomes a memory holder and therefore a significant artefact of symbolic value. Memories are potent, elusive fragments that become attached to a sound, smell, touch or sight. Catching sight of a postcard can trigger a chain of memory associations, which in turn constructs a sense of self through the remembering. Secondly, I contend that subjectivity is understood as fluid and multiple, evolving out of experience and interpretation. Memories formed from experience and connections made with people, place and things become associated with gallery postcards and serve as a catalyst for personal narratives which in turn can operate as tools for constructing subjectivities. Finally I suggest that domestic spaces are a product of relations that can be understood as existing within and beyond the home. Stretched domestic space can be produced by the display of gallery postcards in office spaces. The exploration of the art gallery postcard adds to the knowledges of everyday objects and their role and significance in constructing gendered subjectivities and spaces.
Type of thesis
Robinson, C. (2007). Paradoxical Performances of Subjectivities, Spaces and Art Gallery Postcards (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2295
The University of Waikato
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